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Adopting babies without brains

  1. Dec 22, 2004 #1
    A local religious station ran an advertisement saying that 80% of fetuses with only a brain stem for a brain are aborted. The ad tries to convince parents of such fetuses to bear and keep them the four or so years they would be expected to live. This group also seeks to place similar "special needs" children, as they have 7,000 others.

    Does this presage a change in abortion policy - forcing parents to care for, or using adoption resources on, those children without brains while millions more practically "deserving" kids worldwide go without guardianship? Can one determine the quality of life or humanness for anencephalic babies?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 22, 2004 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    I had no idea a human could survive even that long with only a brain stem.
  4. Dec 22, 2004 #3
    I question that too, but perhaps with slightly higher brain functions or life support the person would survive. Such intention to save the life would border on the macabre.
  5. Dec 23, 2004 #4


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    Staff Emeritus
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    There are no higher functions without the brain. Such a child would be incapable of any perception or cognition. The lungs and heart operate autonomically so would be unaffected, but a child with no brain would not be able to feed itself. I suppose it can survive for some amount of time with a great deal of assistance, but its existence would hardly be more meaningful than that of a garbage disposal. There is no reason to waste resources like this.
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